Dubai: When Mangalika Jayalath was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer in February 2016, the first thing that flashed through her mind was the angelic face of her daughter Kritika, just five years then.
“How will she manage without me, I asked myself?” said the 45-year-old Sri Lankan who runs the popular Ballet Centre in Dubai.
Two years on, the mother and daughter duo look back at the most trying phase of their lives with a smile, as the centre prepares to stage its upcoming ballet production Alice in Wonderland (see box) in the city on January 19.
Mangalika, who fought a dogged battle against the killer disease and has now been declared cancer-free, said, “My daughter is one of the 130 performers in the ballet and my son, 20, who has recovered from the shock of my diagnosis, is studying in the US. For us, the event is not just a personal celebration of survival, it is also an opportunity to support others who may find themselves in a similar situation.”
She said the proceeds of the show, to be held at DUCTAC, will be donated to Brest Friends and the Al Jalila Foundation for Cancer Research.
“It’s heartening that 75 per cent of the tickets have already been sold out,” she said, adding that the ticket prices for the two shows range from Dh125 to Dh175.
Mangalika said, “The Ballet Centre has come a long way since it was founded by Terry Dean in 1986. Terry lost her life to colon cancer in 2000 and I was lucky to survive.”
Mangalika who came to Dubai with her husband 22 years ago, joined the Ballet Centre, an old community favourite in Jumeirah, as a receptionist. In due course she grew in stature and took over its reins in 2012. Two years later, she opened a branch of the centre in Motor City. “I feel so grateful. Until something terrible hits us, we don’t realise the value of what we have. Now that I have seen the worst, I want to help others tide over their difficulties. Donations from the ballet are a small step in this direction.”
What: Alice in Wonderland When: January 19, 3pm and 6pm Where: DUCTAC, Mall of the Emirates Tickets: Dh125, Dh150 and Dh175